A Change of Guard

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Sunday, 10 July 2016

BREAKING: Political analyst Kem Ley shot dead; suspect arrested


Bystanders examine the body of political activist Kem Ley after he was fatally shot by a gunman by a CalTex service station in Phnom Penh this morning.
Bystanders examine the body of political activist Kem Ley after he was fatally shot by a gunman by a CalTex service station in Phnom Penh this morning. Hong Menea


BREAKING: Political analyst Kem Ley shot dead; suspect arrested
Sun, 10 July 2016 ppp
Mech Dara, Niem Chheng and Shaun Turton


Kem Ley, longtime political analyst and organiser of the fledgling Grassroots Democracy Party, was shot dead this morning outside a CalTex service station on the corner of Monivong and Mao Tse Tuong Boulevards in Phnom Penh.


Lay was shot three times, according to a police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the press.

“He was shot three times with a handgun. It was all from behind. He shot him twice in the back and then a last shot [in the head] to finish him,” he said.

National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith confirmed the slaying.

Slain political analyst and Grassroots Democracy Party founder Kem Ley (centre).
Slain political analyst and Grassroots Democracy Party founder Kem Ley (centre). Heng Chivoan


“Yes, the person who was shot dead is Kem Ley,” Chantharith told the Post. “We don't know how many suspects yet, but we arrested one and he is being questioned now. The suspect said the motive of the killing was about [Ley] owing money. But we don't believe him yet. We are still questioning him.”



CalTex service attendants who spoke to Post reporters on condition of anonymity described hearing two to three shots.

“All the customers ran out,” one attendant who was pumping gas at the time said. “At that time, it was quiet, there were not many people. … We thought it was an explosion. There were people inside shouting ‘robbery!’ But a woman came out crying and said it was not a robbery, it was a murder. She was crying and she was shaking.”

Kem Ley's wife (right) and daughter (centre) stand outside the crime scene following Ley's fatal shooting this morning.
Kem Ley's wife (right) and daughter (centre) stand outside the crime scene following Ley's fatal shooting this morning. Hong Menea


The attendant added that Ley was a regular customer of the store and came each morning to drink coffee and read the newspaper.

The alleged shooter, which Phnom Penh police chief Choun Sovann​ confirmed has been arrested, was initially seen fleeing on foot.

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